On a usual day in Deerfield Beach's Century Village, my grandfather, Lennie, reads the newspaper with his magnifying glass, checks stock quotes on his WebTV, forwards humorous e-mails to his grandchildren, and sits by the pool with ''the women," as he calls them.
My grandmother Miriam has her own schedule -- ceramics class, mah jong and canasta three times a week, beauty parlor appointments on Fridays, doctor's appointments on Mondays, and cooking for the both of them.
Married for 60 years, they constantly scream at each other about something or another, but I'm told that is how they show their love. We are a loud family.
Having spent 70 years shoveling and slipping on Brooklyn's streets, they headed South with a million or so of their peers in the 1990s to escape the snow. And last week, Leonard and Miriam Glickman, age 81 and 82, lived through their first direct-hit hurricane.
When I called them last Saturday, (''You know, it would be nice to talk to you sometimes," my grandmother regularly reminds me), I learned they were hunkering down as yet another storm aimed at Broward County. I was relatively unconcerned, knowing they have made it through others with minimal damage, including last year's Ivan. I was more worried about my grandfather's dizzy spells than storm forecasts.
''How do I feel, mama shayna?" he said, using his usual Yiddish term of endearment for his granddaughters. ''Now that I speak to you, I'm fine."
Little did I know, as I watched the sun rise Monday morning as I drove back to Boston from New York, that my grandparents were at that moment stretched out against the windows of their apartment as 120 mile-an-hour winds knocked down trees outside, ripped holes through nearby roofs, and dropped cars into new parking spaces. During Ivan, my grandparents had been instructed to take the windows out of the house to allow air to flow through, and they spent the storm battling wind and water rushing into their second-floor apartment in the dark. This time, they left the windows in place and spent several hours acting as human shields to stop the glass from flying inside.
''Dori, you've never seen something like this," my grandfather told me when I called from Somerville on Tuesday. ''You see it on TV and you think, 'How horrible,' but to live through it! Your grandmother and grandfather holding on to the windows so they don't fly through the house. What a scene.
''Ambulances passing by all the time. What a tragedy," my grandfather said. ''We're back to the old days on the prairie with lanterns and candles."
Tuesday, they waited on a line for hours to get dry ice. Wednesday, they checked in on neighbors and learned that one had beenfound dead in her house.
They relayed all of this to me when I asked, but really, my grandparents did not want to talk about the hurricane too much. They were more interested in the weather up North and my cold, evident from a scratchy voice.
''Are you OK? How are you feeling, mama shayna?" they asked.
''Oh, it's no big deal. Just my nose and throat," I said. ''Now that I speak with you, I'm fine, Grandpa."
''Look at you, already stealing from me," my grandfather said. ''That's my line. It's copyrighted."
I was happy to hear that the hurricane hadn't dampened their spirits. Even with holes in their roof, a non-working kitchen, and a ravaged neighborhood, my grandparents would have lost their identity had they been more worried about their local hurricane than any of their four granddaughters and great-grandson.
''I'm going to go pick up some debris outside; it will give me something to do," my grandmother told me. ''You, take some medicine. Some Sudafed. I'm worried."
Dorian Block, a writer living in Somerville, is one of thousands of Massachusetts residents with grandparents living in southern Florida. Upon their instructions, she is taking her medicine.